While watching Good Night and Good Luck last night (an excellent film surrounding the Joseph McCarthy era of communist accusations), I was inspired by a line from Edward R. Murrow’s keynote address at the RTNDA Convention in Chicago, October, 1958:
This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful. (the full address can be found here).
Of course, Murrow is talking about television. Besides the obvious political undertones, I was reminded of how that television and media have great power to teach in our modern classrooms, but unless this technology is properly used – it is simply wires and lights in a box. This is true of all new technology in the classroom; it has to be effectively used in order to be a powerful tool for learning.